viernes, 27 de noviembre de 2009
Judy Clay & Marie Knight: Bluesoul Belles Vol.4 - The Scepter and Musicor Recordings (1963-1968)
A talented soul singer, Judy Clay joined the Drinkard Singers gospel group in the late '50s and, like many singers who started with gospel, she moved to soul in the '60s, releasing a string of non-hit singles for that are esteemed by soul fans today. The first of them was the La Vette single 'Let It Be Me' b/w 'I'm Uptight' (1963), one of the most intense ballads Judy would ever commit to tape. When the small La Vette company was taken over by Scepter Records, Judy opened her own account on Dionne Warwick's label with the stunning 'My Arms Are Strong Enough' b/w 'That's All', in 1964. The deeply torrid 'Lonely People Do Foolish Things' was paired with the rare Clay co-composition 'I'm Coming Home' to form Judy's second release of the year. As usual, the record featured Dee Dee, Cissy and company on background vocals. Judy re-emerged in 1966 with the stupendous ballad 'Haven't Got What It Takes' coupled with a spine-tingling version of 'The Way You Look Tonight'. The Stax-styled 'You Busted My Mind' b/w 'He's the Kind of Guy' marked the end of Judy's Scepter tenure and signalled the direction her career was about to take on Atlantic Records, where she would teamed with Billy Vera to form what may have been the first interracial recording duo. Meanwhile, Scepter scheduled a single pairing 'I Want You' and 'Your Kind of Lovin'', stompers cut by Judy in 1966. Other unreleased Scepter cuts, like 'Upset My Heart (Got Me so Upset)' and 'Turn Back in the Time' are featured on this collection. Further proof that the best singers are church-trained is Marie Knight, one of the few R&B gals who survived the period of transition from '50s R&B to soul. She recorded a Big New York soul version of the classic 'Cry Me a River' for Musicor, which was a modest hit in 1965. Taped at the same session were the mighty B-side 'Comes the Night' and the poppy number 'Hey, Tell Me Boy'. The thrillingly commercial 'That's No Way to Treat a Girl' b/w 'Say It Again' (an early effort by the young Ashford/Simpson/Armtead team) met a similar fate to 'Cry Me a River'. Likewise, even composing input by the great Jerry Ragovoy on the desperately atmospheric 'A Little Too Lonely' was insufficient to garner it or its coupling 'You Lie So Well' any action. Marie Knight's recordings must have been simply too good for the charts. Either hers or Judy Clay's talents lay in their powerful, straightforward approach to a song which, while failing to pay off big time, nonetheless left in its wake a wonderful catalogue of music for us to enjoy. Partially taken from the original liner notes.